The Orlando Pride announced the signing of Erika Tymrak today, inking the midfielder to a one-year deal with a club option for a second year. Tymrak’s rights were acquired just days ago, along with Gunny Jónsdóttir on Jan. 30, in exchange for the rights to Kristen Edmonds and a second-round draft pick.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to agree terms with Erika so quickly after the trade that brought her to the club,” Orlando Pride General Manager Ian Fleming said in a club press release. “She is a two-time champion in this league, the quality of her play has earned her time with the USWNT, and her versatility will afford us additional ways to play as a group moving forward. Erika’s return is a welcome addition to both our team and the NWSL as a whole.”
Tymrak, 29, announced her retirement in January 2020. The 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year spent two seasons with Utah, scoring one goal and adding two assists in 30 matches. Prior to joining the Royals, Tymrak played five seasons with FC Kansas City, winning back-to-back NWSL championships in 2014 and 2015. In seven NWSL seasons, Tymrak has made 125 appearances, scoring 19 goals. She has also played abroad with Bayern Munich (2013) and Melbourne City (2016-2017).
“I took a year off, just took some time for myself and I got the itch to play again,” Tymrak said in the club release. “I kind of knew, deep down I wasn’t done, but Orlando seemed like the perfect fit. Great environment, really good group of girls, I’ve heard great things about [Head Coach] Marc [Skinner] so I put myself in a position to get here and it worked out. I’m so pumped to be here. I feel great. I feel giddy to play again. I have that excitement and I haven’t had that in a while so it feels really good to have that.”
On the international stage, Tymrak has represented the United States at the U-17, U-20, U-23, and senior levels. She earned her first call-up to the USWNT in August of 2013 and made her debut on Sept. 3 of that year. She has three total caps and scored her first senior international goal in the 76th minute against Brazil in a friendly at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando on Nov. 10, 2013 in a 4-1 U.S. victory. Unsigned Pride forward Sydney Leroux scored two goals in that match.
Tymrak grew up in Lakewood Ranch, FL, and attended the University of Florida. In Gainesville, she was a multi-time NSCAA All-America honoree and was named to the 2009 SEC All-Freshman Team. Tymrak finished her college career third on Florida’s all-time assists list, with 40, and was sixth in points (104).
What it Means for Orlando
With the signing of Tymrak and the addition of Jónsdóttir, the Pride will have a solid group in the midfield that includes Jade Moore, Taylor Kornieck, newly signed Jordyn Listro, recently re-signed Marisa Viggiano, and recently acquired Meggie Dougherty Howard, along with young Chelsee Washington. Although few in this group have played a single game together yet, that’s a solid and deeper group that’s built to withstand international call-ups.
Tymrak adds experience and a bit more bite to a midfield that has lacked both in recent years, particularly during international competitions when players like Emily van Egmond left for their national teams. Fleming and Skinner have worked hard to revamp the midfield this off-season, including some key additions in the recent NWSL Draft, who will join the club after their spring seasons.
Orlando has a solid striker corps, although some non-internationals will need to be added up top, and the midfield looks much improved. Goalkeeper is set. The biggest question mark now on the club would seem to be center back depth.
With additions like Tymrak, the Pride are a team that should be much more competitive in 2021 if the new pieces can come together quickly.